Steps for performing an inspection on portable fire extinguishers.

In order to improved inspections and to lift the veil on the work of the portable fire extinguisher inspection technician. We present an inspection procedure. We believe that this procedure is a minimum to be respected.

So here are the main points:

  1. The fire extinguisher is in the designated location. Ensure that this type of fire extinguisher matches the surrounding potential hazards.
  2. Neither access to the fire extinguisher nor its visibility is obstructed.
  3. Operating instructions on the fire extinguisher nameplate is legible and face forward.
  4. No seals or tampering indicators are broken or missing.
  5. Check for signs of deterioration, corrosion, leaks, or obstruction of the outlet jets.
  6. The pressure indicated on the pressure gauge is within the green zone. Note any extinguishers that are not exactly on the mark, 100 psi, 175 psi, 195 psi. Be careful, there could be a very slight leak. Beware of extinguishers with too much pressure, it is quite possible that the increase in pressure is caused by mixing ABC and BC powder. Or the extinguisher is too close to a heat source.
  7. For extinguishers containing powders such as ABC, BC, and D; turn the extinguisher upside down and hammer it several times with a rubber hammer to dislodge the powder compacted at the base of the extinguisher.
  8. Use the portable scale to check the weight of fire extinguishers containing gases such as CO2, Halotron and FE36.
  9. For C02 extinguishers, the tolerance is 10% and the weight is written on the back of the head. For example; 5 lbs-0.5 LB, 10 lbs- 1 lb, 15 lbs – 1.5 lb, 20 lbs-2.0 lb. Now in the year 2020 manufacturers are putting the weight on the label of the fire extinguisher.
  10. For other types such as: water, demineralized water spray and Type K, you can stir them to see if the extinguisher is sufficiently filled with extinguishing agent.
  11. Check that the inventory number of the extinguisher matches the one on the hook, otherwise make the entry on the report, or find the correct extinguisher corresponding to that location.
  12. Check the numbering as well as all the information related to this extinguisher so that they are identical to those indicated on the inspection report and make modifications if necessary. As such, the inventory number must be located on the top of the cylinder at the back of the pressure gauge. The customer’s name in the same place or on the back of the cylinder.
  13. If the fire extinguisher must be taken out of service, make entries on the report indicating the next dates. Indicate on the label the letter “T” for a test or the letter “S” for a service. In addition, you can indicate other anomalies by painting the gauge to indicate its replacement. Indicate “leaking” for a fire extinguisher that has lost its pressure. In short, indicate all the anomalies that you have detected on the label and also in the comment field of the report relating to this extinguisher. Indicate it on the work order so that the service department can validate the parts to be replaced.
  14. Use a rag to remove dust.
  15. For wheeled units, additionally check the condition of the tires, wheels, cart and nozzle.
  16. Affix a new inspection label on which the month, year, inspection and your initials or name are indicated. For monthly customers, please punch the labels according to the month of inspection. (Note that some clients require that you keep the monthly inspection labels. Perform the continuity test on C02 fire extinguisher hoses and affix the correctly punched label to the hose. Verify that the S.I.M.D.U.T. label is in place).
  17. Even if all the above points are respected, dry chemical extinguishers (ABC, BC, D) and gas extinguishers (Halotron and FE36) must undergo periodic maintenance every 6 years and a hydrostatic test every 12 years.
  18. Even if all the above points are respected, CO2, water, demineralised water and K extinguishers must undergo maintenance and hydrostatic testing every 5 years. Before you put the extinguishers in your truck, do a test to determine if the hoses are correct. If you feel an electric shock with the CO2 hoses or if the hose is punctured, write it down on the report and work order to have it replaced.
  19. All dry chemical fire extinguishers older than 1984 should be considered out of service at the time they would be due for service.
  20. All CO2 fire extinguishers older than 1955 are to be considered out of service at the time they would be due for a service operation.
  21. All water fire extinguishers older than 1971 are to be considered out of service at the time they would be due for service operations.
  22. If you do an inspection of an apartment building located in the territory of the former city of Montreal (and soon on the territory of the new city of Montreal not yet official, March 2012), you must replace all water extinguishers with 5 lb ABC format extinguishers. However, we recommend a 10 lb format since it is more effective and less easy to steal.
  23. The fire extinguisher must be installed with the base higher than 4″ from the ground and if it is less than 40 lbs, the top of its head within 60 inches; if it is more than 40 lbs, the maximum height is 40 inches.
  24. Indicate on the report in the comment field all work done according to the location such as signs installations, installation, fire extinguisher replacement, if you have installed a belt. Indicate if the location has no signs. Indicate if it is necessary the need of the assistance of a guard to open a locked room. Indicate if the fire extinguisher is difficult to access, not accessible, or missing. IMPORTANTLY UPDATE THE COMMENTS ENTERED LAST YEAR.

If you would like more information on portable fire extinguisher inspection services, please contact Sylprotec Inc. Their rates are listed in the service tab of their website. You can also install your own hooks and fire extinguisher cabinets. They are available on their website in the fire protection section. In addition, if you want seals or belts for fire extinguisher hoses and other useful items, they are posted under the tab: fire protection accessories.

Sylvain Patrice f.p.t.

By the same author:

Where should I install my portable fire extinguisher in my building?

The rules regarding the height at which your portable fire extinguishers must be attached.

How many fire extinguishers do I need to install and what size extinguisher should I choose?

Presentation of the Polyflex® interior fire hose model from Mercedes Textiles Ltd.

Presentation of TRYME® hose manufactured by Mercedes Textiles Ltd.

Emergency lighting the principles of operation.

Signage in an industrial environment.